Effectiveness of Smokeless Ashtrays

Publication Type

Journal Article

Date Published





Most environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) issues from the tips of smoldering cigarettes between puffs. Smokeless ashtrays are designed to reduce ETS exposure by removing particulate and/or gas-phase contaminants from this plume. This paper describes an experimental investigation of the effectiveness of four smokeless ashtrays: two commercial devices and two prototypes constructed by the authors. In the basic experimental protocol, one or more cigarettes was permitted to smolder in a room. Particulate or gas-phase pollutant concentrations were measured in the room air over time. Device effectiveness was determined by comparing pollutant concentrations with the device in use to those obtained with no control device. A lung deposition model was applied to further interpret device effectiveness for particle removal. The commercial ashtrays were found to be substantially ineffective in removing ETS particles because of the use of low-quality filter media and/or the failure to draw the smoke through the filter. A prototype ashtray using HEPA filter material achieved better than 90% particle removal efficiency. Gas-phase pollutant removal was tested for only one prototype smokeless ashtray, which employed filters containing activated carbon and activated alumina. Removal efficiencies for the 18 gas-phase compounds measured (above the detection limit) were in the range of 70 to 95%.


Journal of Air and Waste Management Association



Year of Publication





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